PDD bill arrears touch Rs 600 cr

Major defaulters include, R&B, Agriculture, Health, PHE, IFCD, HUDD

Srinagar, Dec 12: The Power development department is sitting on arrears of around Rs 600 crore which is yet to be recovered from various government departments.
One of the top officials of the Power development department Kashmir said on Wednesday that payments from the state government departments is not being received on time by the electricity department and the backlog of such bills is now to the tune of Rs 600 crore.
He said that nearly one dozen state departments have been identified among the defaulters for nonpayment of power tariff over a long period of time.
The official said that the departments include, Health, Roads and Buildings, Public Health engineering, Irrigation and Flood control, Housing and Urban development department, Education department.
Sources said that it is surprising that at the time of allocation of funds to the departments, a good percentage is earmarked for expenditures on account of power supply, yet the departments fail to pay electric bills and leave the arrears to accumulate over a period of time.
“Large number of population in the rural and far flung areas doesn’t have electricity for most of the time and yet with this background, the departments fail to make tariff payments. Nothing can be more disappointing,” sources in the PDD maintained.
Sources said that it is unfortunate that functionaries of PDD make discrimination between the influential and non-influential or between the normal consumers and the Government departments. “There is no justification for allowing the departments go without punitive punishment. The fact is that we are suffering huge loss of electric revenue owing to pilferage, loss in transmission and distribution and nonpayment of bills by consumers etc. Each rupee raised and saved for investment in power industry is of exceptional importance. Keeping this situation in mind, the Government should issue a notification setting a deadline for payment of tariff arrears by the departments failing which the law should take its natural course,” one of the experts of power said.
Sources said that among the departments, Irrigation and Flood Control Department and Public Health Engineering Department have highest arrears of over Rs 380 crore.
The Housing and Urban Development Department has arrears of Rs 40 crore, followed by Roads and Building Department of around Rs 12 crore. The Hospitality Protocol Department and Agriculture Department have an outstanding of around Rs 10 crore and Rs 5 crore, respectively.
Similarly, Revenue and Rehabilitation Department has outstanding of around Rs 4 crore.
The top officials of the power department Kashmir admitted that the departments are not able to clear outstanding in their allotted yearly budget. “Several departments have outstanding since years. The issue has already been raised with the heads of these departments to pay outstanding power tariff. We have also now decided to write to General Administration Department so that government could allot additional funds to these departments for paying electricity dues,” they claimed. (KNS)